Aug 14 2009

Forthcoming conference: Changes to the Tribunal System

I will be speaking on issues relative to the new Upper Tribunal at this conference, organised by the Legal Services Agency, on 14 September.

Changes to the Tribunal System: The New Two-Tier System and Its Implications

On 3 November 2008 the UK Tribunals Service experienced its most radical change in 50 years when key aspects of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 were implemented. Individual tribunals, not all doing similar work, have been brought together into a “simplified” two-tier system. The Tribunals Service states that this “flexible structure helps us to build services that are more responsive to the needs of tribunal users.” It has been said that the most important change for users comes with the establishment of the Upper Tribunal and the First-tier′s onward appeal rights to it. For some jurisdictions this will create new statutory appeal rights; for others it will bring the appeal rights within the tribunals rather than the courts. Other tribunals, such as the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal early next year, will also be brought into its orbit.

The new system has been heavily criticised on this blog as Anglocentric, contemptuous of the Scottish legal system, insensitive, and puppeted by the UK government; all, as the late Lord Clyde put it, “a matter of regret”. Discussion of these issues should not however exclude its day to day operation.

Meanwhile, other changes are afoot. The recent report of the Administrative Justice Steering Group on tribunal reform in Scotland seems oddly to have been buried; it is accessible only via Consumer Focus Scotland, and is not published on the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council’s own website. Yet it does give some indication of likely future changes, all no doubt to be argued in the light of the Civil Courts Review when its report is published in 2008 July 2009 second week of August soon.

The purpose of this seminar is to explore these changes, specifically:

  • their background;
  • broader changes to administrative justice;
  • multi-jurisdictional working and cross-border issues; and
  • implications for practice, specifically in relation to asylum and immigration appeals, social security benefit appeals and criminal injuries compensation appeals.

This seminar is aimed at all those concerned with the changes to the tribunal system. It will be particularly relevant to solicitors, advisers and lay people who act as representatives at tribunals. It will be of specific interest to those who appear at social security benefit, asylum, immigration and criminal injuries compensation appeals.


The other speakers are:

Booking and further details

From Legal Services Agency.


The Board Room, Legal Services Agency Ltd., 3rd Floor, Fleming House, 134 Renfrew Street, Glasgow


  • 9.30 – 10.00 Registration and Coffee
  • 10.00 – 10.05 Chair opens
  • 10.05 – 11.00 Tom Mullen – General overview, legislative background & administrative justice changes
  • 11.00 – 11.15 Tea/Coffee
  • 11.15 – 12.00 Sarah Craig – Asylum and immigration appeals
  • 12.00 – 1.00 Steven Craig – Social security benefit appeals – The Social Entitlement Chamber
  • 1.00 – 2.00 Lunch (provided)
  • 2.00 – 2.45 Jessica Burns – Practical implications of the changes and multi-jurisdictional working
  • 2.45 – 3.30 Jonathan Mitchell – Cross-border issues. Is a UK based network appropriate?
  • 3.30 – 3.45 Paul D. Brown – Changes to criminal injuries compensation appeals
  • 3.45 – 4.15 Discussion

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